Dr. Gary Wiren, PGA Master
It is Q.& A. time, which is one of the best ways to come up with
a solution to a golf problem. Ask the question, get the correct
answer, and by adding adequate practice time you get a scoring
Q: When I practice, what percentage of time should I spend on
drives, irons plus hybrids, and the short game?
A: There is no question that long and accurate driving gives
the player a great advantage, particularly when trying to make
birdies. On the other hand, Hall of Fame teacher Manual de la
Torre always argued, "The most important shot is the shot
to the green." On the other hand, anyone who doesn't believe
the putter is the most important club in the bag has need for
more golf experienc. As Willie Park said in 1893, "The man
who can putt is a match for anyone."
In other words, they
are all critically important. But if I were you, I would work
on my weakness and make it my strength while knowing that the
greatest gain will most likely come from improving your short
Q: How can I limit my three-putts?
A: Distance control is going to be an important factor since
most three putting is largely the result of being way too long
or too short on your first putt. To help you overcome that I
would suggest before the first putt you use your imagination
and picture yourself rolling the ball underhanded, as in bowling
Sense how far
back you are swinging your arm to get the ball to the target.
Then take your putter and using the same amount of backswing
as you did for the rolling simulation make your stroke with a
pure arm swing and quiet hands. Distance control is about feel
and active hands make it difficult to be consistent.
Q: How do I learn to hit my pitch shots around the green the
A: The answer is similar to controlling the distance of your
except we can offer you some guides.
Select your pitching
club, let's say it is a 56 degree sand wedge. Then find a practice
space where you can lay down three of your headcovers at 20,
40, and 60 yards from where you will be hitting. Start at the
20 yard distance.
some shots that travel that distance in the air note the position
of your hands during the backswing. How far back did they travel?
Was it to your knee, your pocket, your hip, your chest? Once
you have noted that spot repeat that length of backswing and
see if it doesn't produce the desired distance of 20 yds. Follow
the same procedure for 40, and 60 until you have a built-in
system of backswing length related to a place on your body that
gives you consistent distance results. Keep the same pace of
swing for all the shots letting the length of swing control the
Gary Wiren, PhD
PGA Hall of Fame
World Golf Teacher's Hall of Fame